Scooter Hobbs column: Now SEC has Dawg problem
Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Somewhere amidst the rout Monday night, if nothing else, it was obvious that the Southeastern Conference has shed its persistent “Alabama problem.”
On the downside, all the conference did was trade it in for perhaps an even scarier model.
That’d be Georgia, by the way, just in case you missed the 65-7 frog-squashing of a TCU team that very much deserved to be in the playoffs and earned its way into the championship game by beating the same Michigan team that handily beat the same Ohio State team that did manage to put a scare into the Bulldogs in the semifinals.
Email newsletter signup
So let’s stop right now with the chatter that the committee messed it all up with its seedings and delivered to us a bomb for the national championship game.
Give credit to Georgia. Quit laughing at TCU. It could have happened to anybody.
So the SEC, which has won 13 of the last 17 national championships under two different systems, has also won the last four in a row with three teams.
But the last two were all Georgia. And it doesn’t look like that is changing any time soon.
Still, with every touchdown, every sack and untouched scoring run by Stetson Bennett, the SEC breast-beating got louder.
There were even social media shots fired across the bow at Texas and Oklahoma — both of them TCU victims this season — mock-asking if they were sure they really wanted to join the SEC.
Yes, they’ll be getting into a league with a serious Georgia problem.
But they’ll have plenty of company in trying to solve the dilemma. For now, just join the league peacefully and live vicariously through Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.
That’s what was happening Monday night.
Nobody in the SEC beat Georgia this year and only a few came close — or at least kept the score relatively close.
True, the Bulldogs didn’t beat any of their SEC brethren as badly as they put it on the Horned Toads.
So I’d imagine that an LSU, for instance, felt a lot better once Monday’s bulging margin passed 20 points. All of sudden, that 50-30 loss in the SEC Championship game didn’t seem so embarrassing.
Other SEC schools had similar benchmarks, hollow victories though they might be. Even Vanderbilt’s 55-0 shellacking was finally topped.
Now, while making sport of TCU, they all have to find a way to close their own gaps with Georgia.
Alabama doesn’t figure to stray too far from the national limelight. Tennessee may be on to something and Brian Kelly appears to be putting in a solid foundation for LSU’s long-term success. Shoot, Texas A&M is actually hiring an offensive coordinator.
Others can always challenge.
But this was Georgia’s rebuilding season — although perhaps “reloading” would be a better term — after last year’s championship team lost 15 players to the NFL draft.
Not a whole lot will be leaving this bunch. And, if you noticed, the Bulldogs had trouble avoiding the end zone even after the key heroes had taken their fourth-quarter curtain calls.
And, on the odd chance that anybody in college football was paying attention, the Bulldogs reassembled this monster with exactly one dip into the transfer portal for one player.
On the bright side, maybe Smart will finally drop the Rodney Dangerfield routine — that whole, farce of a “No respect” card looked sillier and sillier as the perfect season and a near-perfect championship game wore on.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com